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West Ham 1-0 Arsenal: 5 Talking Points

ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
3.08K   //    13 Jan 2019, 12:15 IST

Declan Rice celebrates his first senior goal to sink a disappointing Arsenal side at the London Stadium
Declan Rice celebrates his first senior goal to sink a disappointing Arsenal side at the London Stadium

Declan Rice's well-taken finish just minutes after half-time saw West Ham record their first home win over Arsenal in 13 years - prompting yet more questions for Unai Emery and his side to answer after yet another disappointing away display, this time at the London Stadium.  

The Gunners' latest Premier League defeat means they've fallen further behind in their attempts to apply pressure on Chelsea for the final Champions League qualification spot. With Manchester United up against Tottenham today, the Red Devils can go level on points with a win of their own.

With a record 59,946 in attendance, it was almost as though Hammers fans knew a surprise was on the cards. Rice, who had squandered a promising header opportunity while unmarked just before half-time, certainly made up for it as the hosts benefited from a rapid second-half response.

Arsenal failed to take advantage when they were comfortable in possession and created a few promising chances, while West Ham soaked up pressure well and did their utmost to frustrate their London rivals. A hard-fought victory for Manuel Pellegrini's men, here's a look at five talking points from a surprising result:


#5 Marko Arnautovic poses more questions than answers

Speculation over Arnautovic's future continues to intensify, but can West Ham improve even without him?
Speculation over Arnautovic's future continues to intensify, but can West Ham improve even without him?

Marko Arnautovic's days in east London appear increasingly numbered, not least with speculation linking him with a £35m move to China this week. The comments of his brother and agent Danijel aren't doing him any favours either, claiming that he wants to win trophies and should leave to progress his career - though it raises the question: Can West Ham continue to improve even without their talisman?

The Austrian forward, 29, scored 11 goals and created six more last season. Unsurprisingly, he won all of last season's accolades at the club's awards ceremony. Yet they finished in 13th place and were 12 points behind Burnley, who earned the final Europa League spot.

Since the last time he featured in Europe was during the 2010/11 campaign with Werder Bremen (Champions League), it's natural that he harbours ambitions to play among Europe's elite once more.

After all, he's firmly in the peak years of his professional career and flourishing in England's top-flight. Despite some encouraging signs, pieces of intricate play and link-up alongside Samir Nasri and Felipe Anderson, he certainly didn't have his best game against Arsenal.

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Arnautovic was visibly frustrated at his teammates' lack of support in pressing Arsenal's backline
Arnautovic was visibly frustrated at his teammates' lack of support in pressing Arsenal's backline

Pellegrini replaced him with 20 minutes left, a lead to protect and fresh legs waiting for their introduction. We saw him react in a similar manner to what we've become accustomed to: slightly frustrated, subtly annoyed at being subbed but interestingly, he waved goodbye to the applauding fans as they watched him trot off towards the substitutes' bench.

At full-time, he swiftly walked down the tunnel, rather than to celebrate with his teammates after a memorable victory. Regardless of his situation, it doesn't look good does it?

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